Thursday, November 05, 2009

Playing Favorites

In yesterday's WSJ, Thomas Frank revealed a shocking discovery that he had unearthed: Glenn Beck's red phone is not really a hotline to the White House. No! You mean that the phone is nothing but a schlocky part of Beck's shtick whose purpose is to entertain and amuse his audience? Say it ain't so. Next, you'll be telling me that Keith Olbermann isn't really an objective straight-shooting reporter cut from the cloth of the sainted Edward R. Murrow.

Frank also sought to defend one of Beck's recent targets:

One of the specific answers Mr. Beck wanted, on one of the days I watched his program last week, had to do with White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who has been caught on film quoting one of those Mao Zedong aphorisms that wouldn't look out of place on a motivational poster. She also remarked that Mao was one of her "favorite political philosophers," an honor the Chinese Communist shared with Mother Teresa.

Obviously Ms. Dunn was yet another person who deserved to be added to the long list of radicals that Mr. Beck had uncovered within the government.

The key word here is "favorite" as in favorite political philosophers.

Nor should Mr. Beck require a phone call from the White House to understand that lots of people, including conservatives, have cited Mao and Lenin and other such demonic figures in all sorts of contexts, and that they aren't always careful, when so citing, to point out what bad people these were.

This is absurd. Frank is pretending that what Dunn is being criticized for is not having noted Mao's history when referencing his quotes. He ignores the much more significant statement that Mao was one of her favorite political philosophers. Lots of people may very well cite quotes from Mao, Lenin, and other sources of evil, but you don't find many who claim one of these monsters of history as one of their "favorites."

No discerning person would conclude from Ms. Dunn's dimwitted remark that she is a Maoist.

Really? So during the 2000 presidential campaign when George W. Bush said that Jesus Christ was his favorite political philosopher would no discerning person conclude that he was a Christian?

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